The Norwegian National Day, which marks the establishment of the Constituion of Eidsvold in 1814, was celebrated with cheer and happiness in an all day long event in the capital on Saturday 17th May 2003.
On 10 April 1814 the generally voted National Assembly got together at Eidsvold Iron Works outside Christiania (Oslo) for the objective of awarding Norway a constitution. As one of the delegates put it: "Here was to be seen a selection of men from all parts of the realm, of all ranks and dialects, men from court circles as well as landowners come together in no set order for the sacred purpose of laying the foundations for the rebirth of the nation."
Six weeks later, on 17 May 1814, the National Assembly had finished its work on the Constitution, and on the same day closed its procedures by choosing Prince Christian Frederik as the new King of Norway. The proceedings ended with a brief and mighty speech by the President, Georg Sverdrup, relating the former free Norway to the new emerging Norway: "Thus within Norway's boundaries is resurrected Norway's ancient seat of Kings, which was graced by Athelstans and Sverres and from which, with wisdom and might, they ruled over Norway of old."
For decades, Norwegians have joined together and celebrated this event in the capital of Scotland. The early birds gathered at 7:30am on Arthur's Seat to hoist the Norwegian flag to commemorate another event, namely the Vikings' invasion of Scotland. At 9:30am, about 350 people met at Prestonfield House to gorge traditional Norwegian food and also the famous Aquavit.
The Gun at EdinburghCastlemarked the start of the parade. From the Mound in Princes Street, a crowd of about thousand people - residents, students and visitors - marched their way down the main street to and down to the West Princes Gardens.
In the West Princes Gardens, Student Chaplain Thorbjørn Holt (pictured above) gave a short service in rememberance of fallen British and Norwegian soldiers during the Second World War. Afterwords, the Norwegian Students Association - NORSA, arranged various games for the younger generations including traditional games like "sack-run", "potato-run" and "hammer-the-nail".
In the evening, friends of Norway gathered for "Dinner and Dance" at George InterContinental in George Street. NORSA members and guests were celebrating in the old famous pub Jekyll and Hyde in Hanover Street and various other clubs in the aftermath of a beautiful day.